pigs not polar bears

Tall Dark & Handsome’s brother just got back from the North Pole. More or less. He spent two weeks in Svalbard dog sledding through white-outs and walking on thin ice.

My mother went to Chicago once when she was 17. Barring truckers, that’s about as far as any of my family got until I started traveling.

Growing up we didn’t do vacations. We did the State Fair. Every summer we’d head to Lewisburg so the old man could loiter around livestock and engage in commerce with the carnies. Funnel cakes were the highlight, but I didn’t eat them because it was too hot and they were too sticky. My brother did. He’d wash them down with big gulp cups and then jump on the ferris wheel until he threw up.

Friends, let me tell you, the only thing worse than doing family vacation when you’re a 15 year old girl is doing it around collapsible tents, farmyard animals and bagged gold fish.

But people do it. All the time. They go to stare at prized pigs and hairy heifers. To swallow hot dogs and slurpees and sing along with country crooners.

It’s alright for some. But not for me. And not for my brother. Not now. We’ve moved on and out.

He still likes ferris wheels though.

London Eye (c) Billy

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  • Ken
    May 4, 2006 at 13:24

    Reminds me. I can’t wait to take the kids to the street fair this year!

  • Night Writer
    May 4, 2006 at 14:48

    My oldest daughter, the Mall Diva, is a big Ferris Wheel fan. I’m sure we’ll be checking out “The Eye” beside the Thames two weeks from now.

  • Buffy
    May 4, 2006 at 15:51

    See. Now street fairs are something altogether different.

  • ldbug
    May 4, 2006 at 18:15

    My brother used to do that, only he threw up on the zipper, a very, very cruel ride!!!

  • Liz
    May 4, 2006 at 18:16

    I miss the Altamont Fair! Thanks for the memories.

  • michelle
    May 4, 2006 at 19:12

    my family vacations were always business trips/conventions for my dad … a couple of days would be spent sightseeing in a city that none of my friends had been to (that is, not orlando) and a couple of days would be spent wandering around a trade show for automotive radiator manufacturers … fun times, actually. i learned to be a good traveller, not a tourist … and i can identify all the parts of a car radiator. 🙂

  • Alexandra
    May 4, 2006 at 20:17

    He likes them so much they grow out of his head. 😉 Did he manage to wrestle a polar bear though? He can come over here to Churchill and see one.

  • jane
    May 4, 2006 at 21:45

    I used to love those ferris wheel baskets. You’d sit in these enclosed baskets & if you got a cool carnie, they’d spin the basket so it would go soooo fast & then the ride itself would start. Of course, this was in the 70s and so we were undoubtedly stoned, which made the spinning even moreso.
    Something about carnival food though, it’s so bad, yet so good.

  • Bre
    May 5, 2006 at 0:56

    I went to my first county fair last year while working in North Carolina – it was QUITE an experience!! And oh! The London eye! I miss London 🙁

  • mamakraft
    May 5, 2006 at 1:27

    You just wrangled up many, many bad memories for me … now I will spend many months trying to push them back into the corner where they belong!

  • Bernita
    May 5, 2006 at 11:56

    Country road…take me home…

  • Buffy
    May 5, 2006 at 13:00

    Bernita, I cant think about that song without thinking about ‘mountain mommas’. One in particular who chased my brother onto the football field. Will have to tell you about her one day. 🙂 She was large. And happy.

  • Amy K
    May 5, 2006 at 15:14

    I loved the line about bagged goldfish. Buffy, you are quite lyrical in this post. 🙂

  • kerri anne
    May 5, 2006 at 17:30

    I was always a little weary of the ferris wheel. It didn’t seem sturdy enough, and it rocked too much. And, I’m a wimp, clearly. What’s funny is that I loved! to ride the big scary, lock-you-in-because-you-will-be-going-upside-down rides. But the ferris wheel? Mmm, no thanks.

  • Janet
    May 5, 2006 at 22:54

    Ahhh, yes. I remember the county fair. Cotton candy, corn on the cob, dill pickles….mmmm.

  • Brittany
    May 5, 2006 at 23:34

    I’ve never been to the State Fair but I loved the fairs we had in my town as well as coming into the city for the Taste or trips to Navy Pier 🙂

  • joey
    May 6, 2006 at 0:57

    hehe i agree with this post. fifteen’s a tough age for that kind of thing :). amusing picture. i like.

  • Marv
    May 6, 2006 at 4:29

    buffy, i like your writing..it’s entertaining =)

  • Katherine
    May 6, 2006 at 19:28

    Ah yes, the state fair. Didn’t like it when I was 15 either. Still don’t! Never saw the allure…

  • Sweeti
    May 6, 2006 at 20:23

    Hey Buffy thanks for coming by again good to hear from you. nice to know another chocoholic!

  • craziequeen
    May 6, 2006 at 20:53

    Ah, the damp tents…farmyard animals…..? reminds me of church camp when I was just a little crazie 🙂

    btw – the Cruise video is on my blog – thanks for reminding me…..[evil laugh]


  • daughter in law
    May 7, 2006 at 13:47

    Lewisburg, eh? I think we might be from the same neck of the woods. Thanks for visiting.

  • Elizabeth
    May 7, 2006 at 13:51

    Hilarious!!! I remember as clearly as yesterday the family vacation we took when I was 15. My dad rented a giant motor home and piled all four of us in. Me, my incredibly embarassing brother and even more embarassing sister and my baby brother who was in the heat of the terrible twos at the time. We drove all over the Western states for two ENTIRE weeks. Everywhere we went, I walked 20 feet away from the rest of my family so as to make clear to all onlookers that I was neither associated with this group of mad people, nor approving of their behavior.

    I don’t think it’s possible for a girl to enjoy a family vacation at age 15. Everyone involved is just soooooo embarassing!

  • Popeye
    May 7, 2006 at 17:01

    I like the dirt the mud that hits your face at the demolition derby.

  • Jamie Dawn
    May 7, 2006 at 18:45

    I went to our county fair several times over the years, when we lived in CA. I enjoyed it a lot, but I can’t imagine that being our family vacation. Also, I did not enjoy it enough to go every year.
    The baby animals were so cute, but the big pigs and cows were just plain hideous.

  • goldenlucy
    May 7, 2006 at 19:07

    Hi Buffy,
    Thanks for visiting me. Your site is wonderful and you a spell-binding writer. And, if destined to be a mother, an excellent writer who can bear children for for years to come! Also re your previous post, I don’t know anybody who finds food diaries and organ recitals by the young or old, spell-binding. I know I don’t.

    So glad I found you. I look forward to spending lots more time exploring your site!

  • Dennie
    May 9, 2006 at 3:06

    he’s a cutie…

    I have never been to a county fair – poor deprived me! I have only been to the state fair twice – which is HUGE in the Dallas/Fort Worth area

  • expatraveler
    May 9, 2006 at 18:01

    I just love photographing the things, especially if they are working at night!